Wine and beer trails are popular destinations in upstate New York, but a new type of trail is tempting upstate travelers to chow down, as well as raise their glasses.
Upstate Eats is the name of the trail that was introduced in 2021. It is a partnership between four upstate cities located along the New York State Thruway: Binghamton, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo.
Rachel Laber Pulvino, director of market communications and public relations for Visit Rochester, the official tourism promotion agency for Monroe County, said the trail’s inspiration came from a New York Times article that highlighted the iconic, authentic, regional cuisines found in this part of the state.
The trail celebrates and highlights the delicacies found in upstate New York, Pulvino said.
The recommended fare along the trail ranges from chicken spiedies, salt potatoes and sponge candy to garbage plates, white hots and frozen custard.
“There are so many unique foods in our part of the country,” Pulvino said.
With tourism at a standstill in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, area tourism leaders looked that summer at ways to draw visitors, Pulvino explained. They decided since many people would travel in their own vehicles, stops along a main throughfare could be a draw.
Another benefit of tourism trails is that they traditionally draw people who enjoy the easy-to-follow route and allow them to get out and explore part of the state, she noted.
There are stops in each of the four cities, called “main courses,” along with “side dishes,” which are additional spots in each area that people may want to visit.
The stops for the Upstate Eats Trail are accessible along interstates 81 and 90, running roughly 225 miles end to end.
In Rochester, the stops include Bill Gray’s, the Genesee Brew House, Nick Tahou Hots, Schaller’s and the Rochester Public Market.
Pulvino said the tourism officials aimed to pick spots that would offer travelers an experience.
At the Genesee Brew House, for example, visitors can enjoy an iconic food and drink experience at one of the largest and oldest continually operating breweries in America.
Additional Rochester area locations highlighted included places where one can order a great Chicken French or stop into a unique venue, such as Morgan’s Cereal Bar on East Avenue.
Other notable stops along the trail include the Apple Dumpling Café at Apple Hills in Binghamton, Anchor Bar, known for its wings, in Buffalo and the Bull & Bear Roadhouse in Syracuse.
The trail does not have a formal passport, but, rather, allows people to take a self-guided tour and even serve as inspiration for future return trips.
In addition to the food stops, there are also recommendations for non-food focused destinations in and around each city, as well, such as The Strong National Museum of Play and the George Eastman Museum for visitors stopping in Rochester.
The trail highlights a range of opportunities the region has to offer, Pulvino noted.
“The food is just the starting point,” she said.
For more information on the trail, visit upstateeatstrail.com.
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